University welcomes historically large class

The class of 2018 is a record-breaker.

 

The University welcomed 1,086 this academic year. More than 9,394 students applied to The University, making for a competitive application pool that was the second largest in school history.

 

Associate Vice Provost for Admissions and Enrollment Joseph Roback oversees the application process, and he is proud to see the success of this year’s enrollment. “I think the success that we have seen over the past 15 years is attributed to our incredible faculty, the community of our students and the high academic standards that the school lives by. People see this and they fall in love with Scranton, and it’s a wonderful thing to see,” Roback said.

 

He dismissed speculations that this year’s class is so large in part because the previous class was smaller than average.

 

This year’s class was larger simply due to an unpredictable variation from the predicted “yield,” the number of people who will decide to attend The University after being accepted.

 

Roback explained that, after receiving the applications, the process in determining the yield is part science and part art.

 

“The science part of determining the yield deals with numbers. We look at what happened last year, and the year before that. We also look at what the competition has done. If those schools are accepting more students, than there would be less students to enroll here. The number of students who have visited the campus also plays a role. The art part of determining the yield deals with knowing the market and putting that information together with the numbers to come up with an educated analysis that says we are going to take, say, 7,000 students, we are going to yield 15 percent, and we are going to have a class of ‘x,’” Roback said.

 

This yield can usually be predicted fairly accurately, but as Roback explained “there is always going to be unpredictability.” The numbers can always change.

 

“The year before we had a smaller class, our yield went down and this year it went up. It’s, at times, very volatile. Those slight changes make a difference for ‘x’ number of students … What happened this year was, in simple terms, our popularity and how we were viewed in the market against other schools enabled us to do very well, resulting in our yield going up two percent. We consider that go be a good thing, but for next year we have to be aware of this increase, and we are going to aim to bring in a class of 950 to 970 [students],” Roback said.

 

The Office of Admissions is constantly in communication with the Office of Residence Life, a conversation that takes place through the Office of Enrollment Management. There is an approximate capacity of 900 students in traditional housing, so these numbers need to be communicated to the Office of Admissions from Residence Life each year to play a part in predicting the yield.

 

Interim Director of Residence Life Brad Troy saidthat the decision to use non-traditional first-year housing was reached in June when the size of this year’s class became clearer.

 

“In June we realized that we had a huge class, and we identified the need for approximately 70 more beds than what we have in traditional first-year housing,” Troy said. “We had two realistic options. The first was to utilize untraditional housing, which consists of adding furniture to a double room to turn it into a triple. The second option was to utilize spaces that we had available in other buildings on campus. We identified that we had beds available in upperclass housing, and we took the approach of moving returning students around to create a community of first-year students in sophomore housing. In one scenario we would use the on-campus houses, but we ultimately decided to use Gavigan because of its close proximity to other freshmen dorms, and for its ability to house all the freshmen in one place. We could have put 20 to 30 residents in the houses and the rest in open sophomore spots, but using Gavigan allowed us to provide the most consistent option. There was an intentional decision to keep them on first floor and lower levels, as opposed to scattering them across all the open spots.”

 

The number of complaints thus far has been limited, most likely due to the number of amenities that first years have in Gavigan that other, traditional first-year housing does not have. It balances out the downsides of not living in the smaller communities.

 

Lauren Roberto, a first-year student living in Gavigan, is happy with her housing. “It’s been awesome being able to live in sophomore housing as a freshman. I love having my own bathroom, and having air conditioning is great. I realize that it’s more of a responsibility for us, but I’m glad that I was lucky enough to be randomly chosen to live here” Roberto said.

 

“It’s a bit harder to develop a community, I think, but we are all trying hard to be friendly with each other and to keep our doors open so that we can start to know as many [people] on the hall as we can.”

 

By Zach Dyer

News Correspondent

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